Ray Rice and the Verse No One is Talking About

Ray Rice, former RB for the Baltimore Ravens, punched his future wife in the head, knocking her out. Video has recently come out that clearly depicts this ugly incident. It is sickening to watch, media and society all seem to agree. The NFL, Baltimore Ravens, and Nike have all broken ties with Rice. Most of us grew up being taught, you never hit a woman, but Rice did. Now most have seen him do it, and they have loudly declared it absolutely wrong and want justice.
Few if any are quoting, “Do no judge, so that you might not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). This is good news. No on is arguing that we don’t understand how difficult it is to be Ray Rice or that we don’t understand his difficult childhood, or that we don’t even know all the circumstances surrounding the video. They are simply and correctly judging his actions were wrong. Maybe now, light can be shed on this verse and it will be seen and used correctly. Jesus is not telling us to never make moral judgements. He is not forbidding us to differentiate between good and evil, right and wrong. He is not saying our actions don’t matter. Jesus is simply warning us to be fair and humble in our judgments.

Even though society may be trying to limit absolutes, there are absolute rights and wrongs. We are taught to live by them in God’s Word and discern what is right and wrong according to them, looking first to ourself before we examine our neighbor. Even though society often wants to make everything grey, instead of right and wrong, and therefore wrongly apply Matthew 7:1, the Ray Rice incident has shown that we have to make moral judgments for ourself and at times others. (John 7:24 “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”)

2 thoughts on “Ray Rice and the Verse No One is Talking About”

  1. Great post, Andy! This really exposes the hypocrisy of judging one who attempts to make any kind of moral judgment, and the utter failure of subjective standards of acceptable behavior.

    It is almost universally believed that what Ray Rice did was wrong, and should be condemned, because we are all adhering to a fixed standard of acceptable behavior in this case. But when the standard of right and wrong becomes fluid, changing with the individuals preferences and sinful inclinations, then making any kind of meaningful moral judgement becomes an impossibility, and the very act of attempting to make a moral judgment becomes forbidden (or judged to be wrong, ironically enough!).

    It is no wonder this verse is abused so often, when right and wrong becomes a matter of personal opinion. This may be an over simplification, but doesn’t it boil down ultimately to the sinful pride of man and our desire for autonomy? We don’t truly want to be ruled by anything, or anyone, outside of ourselves – unless of course what’s outside agrees with us.

  2. I’ve often wondered over the years why the world almost universally condemns some sins while passing over others (and even condemning those who call them out). I think it has to do with the ethic “if it harms someone else, it is wrong, but if there is no victim, it is ok”. That is why stealing, domestic violence, and child molestation are judged as wrong, but other behavior, such as fornication, is not. It is regarded as a “victimless crime.” The irony is that messing with God’s commands and His created order does disrupt society and creates victims. But the bigger issue is that people view ethics in regard to their fellow man, but never toward what God desires – because of man’s broken relationship with his Creator. We often do the same as Christians – when we consider an activity, do we stop and think “what does God think of this” or do we only think of temporal consequences?

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